Why should mothers care about establishing paternity?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Sunday, February 17, 2019.

You might assume that those concerns over the issue of paternity are primarily something that potential fathers have to deal with. Yet as a mother, you should also be concerned that someone is legally recognized as your child’s father. Even if you do not plan on maintaining a relationship with your child’s actual father, it is important that he (or another) be deemed responsible for the welfare of your child along with you. While studies show that children who have the involvement of two parents in their lives enjoy certain social benefits compared to those who do, there are other reasons why establishing the paternity of your child is important.

Raising a child on your own can be difficult, especially if you have only your income to rely on. If another has been legally designated as your child’s father, he can then also be held responsible for supporting your child. One does not have to be your child’s biological father to be assigned paternity, either. If your spouse has claimed paternity of your child despite not being their biological father, then they can still be made to pay child support for them if you choose to divorce.

How can paternity be assigned to a man who is not your child’s father, then? According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, if you are together at the time your child is born, your spouse (or partner) can sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. His name can then be placed on your child’s birth certificate as the father. If you come together after the birth of your child, the Affidavit can still be obtained through the state Department of Health and Senior Service’ Bureau of Vital Records or its Family Support Division.

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